'World of Color' at Disney California Adventure Park

Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Guest Talent Coordinator

posted on August 31st, 2012 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Did you know that the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts host thousands of guest performers each year on Disney stages, as part of Disney Performing Arts? To tell you how is Disneyland Resort Guest Talent Coordinator Christiana Macer, in this installment of Every Role a Starring Role!



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Meet Chef Christine Weissman, New Executive Chef for Both Parks at the Disneyland Resort

posted on August 17th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


If you’ve been to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, or sailed with Disney Cruise Line, chances are you’ve seen Chef Christine Weissman – a flurry of energy as she spent her days keeping an eye on all things food and drink.

After 12 years on the East Coast, you’ll now see Chef Christine spending time with her chefs at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks, where she says she’s working “to always improve our guests’ dining experience.”
Chef Christine Weissman, the New Executive Chef for Both Parks at the Disneyland Resort

She got her start on the opening team at Disneyland Paris, then headed to Walt Disney World Resort for stints at Seasons Dining Room at the former Disney Institute; as the specialty chef in the Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot; chef de cuisine of catering at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Magic Kingdom Park; executive chef of Epcot; and executive chef of Disney Cruise Line.

Christine Weissman is also a certified Master Chef (Meister Pruefung I.H.K.), and is certified at Level One by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Her love of cooking started as a child in Bielefeld, Germany, where her family owned a restaurant. She started out as a dishwasher, then learned culinary skills from her father and grandmother. Her favorite kitchen gadget still is a spaetzle board, an old-fashioned way of making German soft egg noodles. “I like to make spaetzle the old fashioned way, ‘scharped from the board,’” says Christine. “I often do this with my daughters at home.”

When we asked her favorite part of being a chef, she quickly answered, “every day is a new adventure, and I love to share my knowledge and skills with my team and watch them develop their own culinary abilities.”

And she says she loves interacting with guests, “creating experiences that they will remember for years to come.”

When she’s taking a rare break from the Disney kitchens, Christine still loves a taste of home – her favorite dish to make is a comforting potato pancake with smoked salmon and a drizzle of sour cream.

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Meet Disneyland Resort ‘Pie Man,’ Chef Jean-Marc Viallet

posted on August 7th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


“Eat dessert first” is our mantra, especially when we’re at the Disneyland Resort and we have the opportunity to dig into any sweet created by Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Marc Viallet.

Apple-Cheddar Pie Created by Disneyland Resort Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Marc Viallet Cherry Pie Created by Disneyland Resort Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Marc Viallet
Chocolate Mud Pie Created by Disneyland Resort Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Marc Viallet Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Created by Disneyland Resort Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Marc Viallet

His latest creations are the fabulous mini-pies served at Flo’s V-8 Café in Cars Land – we love the strawberry-rhubarb, but won’t pass up the apple-cheddar or chocolate mud pies. Chef Jean-Marc confesses that creamy chocolate desserts are his favorite to prepare, and that his mom’s gooey chocolate cake is one of his favorite childhood memories. He says he remembers helping her in the kitchen in Paris, France, when he was just eight years old, and he started culinary school and working in a pastry shop by age 16.

His sweet career has taken him around the globe and he landed at Disneyland Resort in 1999 as executive pastry chef. His very first sweet for the parks was a Mickey cookie – and the rest is history, as that cookie was the springboard to a job that includes design, development and production of 90 percent of the desserts and baked goods at the Disneyland Resort (except for Napa Rose Restaurant and some catered events).

Disneyland Resort Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Marc Viallet

Now he and his team (of 100!) at the Disneyland Resort Central Bakery use more than 90,000 pounds of flour, 80,000 pounds of sugar, 80,000 pounds of chocolate, 165,000 fresh eggs and 66,000 pounds of fresh butter each year to create everything from those bite-size pies at Flo’s V-8 Cafe to elaborate wedding cakes.

By the way, Chef Jean-Marc tells us if he wasn’t a chef he’d be an actor or singer – but for now he lets his delicious sweets play the starring role.

What’s your favorite sweet at Disneyland Resort?

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort River Guide

posted on July 27th, 2012 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


This month marks the anniversary of canoes at Disneyland park – no motor or track since 1956! To celebrate, Disneyland Resort cast member Jessica Voiles will give you a glimpse into her role as a river guide aboard Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, in this installment of Every Role a Starring Role!



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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Sketch Artist

posted on July 5th, 2012 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Whoever your favorite Disney characters may be, my bet is that cast member David Mitchell can sketch them for you. David creates custom sketches inside Disneyana at Disneyland park, and watching him work is pure magic! See for yourself in this installment of Every Role a Starring Role.

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Stage Technician

posted on May 31st, 2012 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort stage technicians have been bringing “Fantasmic!” to life for 20 years. As we celebrate the milestone anniversary this month, join stage technician James Adling for a peek inside the iconic show – and Mickey’s imagination!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Painter

posted on May 9th, 2012 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort painters are known for making the old look new, and the new look old. The key is attention to detail, according to Disneyland Resort Painter Alan Smith, who will tell you more in this installment of Every Role a Starring Role!

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Magic Kingdom Park Cast Member Moves, Shakes and Celebrates; Main Street, U.S.A., Hostess Makes Guests Smile and Loses 60 Pounds in the Process

posted on April 5th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Walt Disney’s spirit of showbiz and entertainment extends far beyond a specific job classification at Disney Parks. When he created Disneyland Resort, Walt wanted everyone working there to entertain guests no matter what their day-to-day duties were. And to this day, we are called “cast members” instead of “employees”; we each have a “role in the show” rather than a “job.”

In fact, when he famously said, “You can dream, create, plan and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality,” Walt was describing that foundation. It was part of his vision behind “The Four Keys” for a great guest experience: 1) Safety, 2) Courtesy, 3) Show and 4) Efficiency.

One of the shining examples of these “Basics” for a great guest experience is found in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. Her name is Barbara, and she is a Main Street, U.S.A., Hostess. But she has taken her Hostess role and added quite a few twists (and turns…and spins…and several other moves!) to it. She has gained quite a few fans through the years with her dance moves during the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party that is performed several times on most days in Magic Kingdom Park.

In fact, her dancing has not only led to smiles on guests’ faces, it had another positive result. A few years ago, Barbara made the commitment to lose weight. And by creating her high-energy dance steps and celebrating with guests in the interactive street party, she has lost a total of 60 pounds since Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! debuted.

Recently, I decided to shadow Barbara as her “dance apprentice.” And despite my earlier dance attempts while eating The World’s Hottest Pepper and learning from Irish dancing pro Sarah at Raglan Road, there was no way I could keep pace with Barbara as she joined the festivities with Mickey, Minnie, stiltwalkers, dancers, the emcee and the guests who took part in the fun. She was a bundle of energy and kept a smile on her face at every turn.

It’s easy for her, she told me. “I am having so much fun out there. I love to share it with our guests. That’s why guests visit and that’s what makes the magic for me.”

Barbara is an inspiration to me. In my opinion, she embodies the spirit of a cast member that Walt Disney envisioned all those years ago.

Have you seen Barbara in action? Or do you have another cast member that sticks out in your mind as going above and beyond with some of the same “Basics”? Please share with us in the comments.

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Tram Driver

posted on April 4th, 2012 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Happy Earth Month!

Did you know the Disneyland Resort guest parking lot trams run on clean-burning compressed natural gas, eliminating approximately 56,000 gallons of diesel use per year? Hear more from tram driver Debra McDowell in this installment of Every Role a Starring Role.

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Q&A with Imagineer Joe Rohde, Recipient of the Buzz Price Thea Award Recognizing a Career of Distinguished Achievements

posted on March 29th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Walt Disney Imagineer Rohde, Recently Honored with the Buzz Price Thea Award Recognizing a Career of Distinguished Achievements

In November, we announced that Imagineer Joe Rohde would be honored by the Themed Entertainment Association with its Buzz Price Thea Award Recognizing a Career of Distinguished Achievements, and on March 17, 2012, Joe received his award during the Thea Awards ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Joe about the award and his career at Walt Disney Imagineering – which has included such enormous projects as Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park; Expedition Everest; Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa; and the upcoming AVATAR project at Walt Disney World Resort.

What does receiving the Buzz Price Thea Award Recognizing a Career of Distinguished Achievements mean to you, coming from your peers in the industry who make up the Themed Entertainment Association?

It’s a great honor to look at my list of achievements and to be counted among people who have done so much more than I have – it’s really an honor.

Looking back on your career, what has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on, and what has been your biggest challenge?

When I first saw the Disney’s Animal Kingdom site, I was truly terrified. Disney’s Animal Kingdom was unexplored country – we were doing lots of things that had never been done before. It’s hard not to see getting Disney’s Animal Kingdom built as a challenge. Attempting to do so many things all in one project – it was challenging and a growth experience. We were truly learning as we were doing.

With Aulani, I knew there was more to Hawai`i that many visitors don’t realize, and I knew Disney had a great opportunity to tell that story.

You’re known for your love of storytelling and attention to detail. You’ve visited many places all over the world for research – which have been your favorites? Are there places you’d still like to visit?

I love the Himalayas, and I’ve spent a lot of time there. When we were doing research for Expedition Everest, we visited places few people have been before.

Where I’d like to go…I have to go camel trekking in Mongolia and I want to go to Papua New Guinea.

What are you looking forward to next?

When I think about the AVATAR story and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I see the value systems that underlie both. We have the opportunity to tell that story in a way that will make the AVATAR experience feel like a natural part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

All of us who are designers have an opportunity to take the work we are given and make it something unexpected. That’s how we help the company to grow and expand into new areas.

Please join me in congratulating Joe on receiving the Buzz Price Thea Award Recognizing a Career of Distinguished Achievements!

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